Paramedics Attempt to Return to Work
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ City paramedics tried to return to work today, but supervisors turned them away after the union refused to promise its members would not strike for six months, city officials said.
″We tried to contact the union ... about setting some specific no-strike period. But we were unsuccessful in that meeting,″ Emergency Medical Services Chief Robert Kennedy said today.
″We did have some employees show up for work here. However, until their union will agree to a reasonable no-strike time period during negotiations, they will not be scheduled by the city for work,″ Kennedy said.
Supervisors read a statement at paramedic stations informing union members they could return to work from their three-day strike only if the Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics promised not to walk out again before May 1987.
Union President Mark Schneider had told paramedics to report at 7 a.m. today. If they are not allowed to work, he said Sunday night, ″we’ll consider this a lockout.″
During a meeting Sunday under the supervision of state mediator James E. Rush Jr., the two sides clarified issues and agreed to meet again but did not set a date for another session, said Mark Zabierek, an aide to Mayor Richard Caliguiri.
Paramedic service during the strike is being provided by supervisors, non- medical supervisors from other city departments and physicians from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Emergency Medicine.
Schneider said he was glad supervisors have been able to handle life- threatening emergencies, ″but I’m sure thay can’t keep it up because their supervisory personnel are already breaking down. They’ve been overworked.″
Sixty supervisors have been getting to people in need as fast as the 180 strikers they replaced, said Margaret Rizza, a Public Safety Department spokeswoman.
The paramedics, who had been working without a contract since Jan. 1, on Wednesday rejected the city’s proposed two-year wage freeze.